The future of downtown shopping: interview with Olivier Roy

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Yann Fortier

A discussion with Olivier Roy takes us on a shopping excursion that combines the best of the online and offline worlds.


Leav—his startup—was launched with two colleagues back in 2020 to empower brick-and-mortar consumers to learn about, pay for, and leave with their items without having to wait in line or deal with a cash register.

Given the challenges stemming from the current labour shortage, Leav has been an unexpected boon for businesses looking to increase capacity.

Leav’s customer journey: like, pay, leave.

“Our goal is to create the perfect shopping experience,”explains the young entrepreneur whose offices are located in the Sternthal Building on Saint-Alexandre Street.

Downtown synergy

For Roy and his colleagues, downtown Montreal was the natural choice. One big reason: the proximity to merchants.

We believe that retailers—big and small—are increasingly going to turn to automated technologies that facilitate a frictionless shopping experience. We also think that e-commerce has the capacity to become an extension of physical stores and not the other way around,” explains Roy.

Front-row seats

For the young team at Leav, downtown Montreal is both fertile soil and an excellent point of observation. “We’re on a constant quest to improve the customer experience and optimize customer behaviour. Populations, lifestyle habits, and consumer habits are constantly changing.

For this start-up, the future looks bright.